Plethora of records fall at 18th annual McGill Team Challenge
The No.2-ranked University of Guelph swept both the men's and women's divisions at the 18th annual McGill Team Challenge, a two-day track and field meet which concluded Saturday at Tomlinson Fieldhouse.
Eleven meet records and three Fieldhouse marks fell at the competition, which attracted 27 university teams and 792 athletes and is known as the largest indoor meet in Canada. The meet also produced 41 performances which met qualification standards for the CIS championship to be hosted by University of Alberta in Edmonton, March 7-9.
Among the highlights, Alex Bussieres, representing the Club Athletic Université Laval, set a Canadian junior mark in the 1,000 metres, clocking in at two minutes, 25.60 seconds, erasing the standard set in 2009 by Jeremy Rae (2:25.72) in Toronto.
Canadian Olympian Mélanie Blouin, a Université Laval pole vaulter from Quebec City, cleared a height of 4.35 metres, which smashed both the meet record (4.06m) and the Fieldhouse mark (4.20).
Guelph's Tim Hendry registered a toss of 18.33m in the men's shot put, which easily beat both the meet record (16.93) and the Fieldhouse record (17.52).
The other truly impressive result was in the women's 4x200m relay, where the Toronto Varsity Blues were clocked in 3:43.90, destroying both the meet (3:49.24) and Fieldhouse records (3:47.77). The U of T quartet was composed of Alicia Brown in the leadoff leg, followed by Natalie Gieger, Rachel Jewett and Sarah Wells.
The host team from McGill finished eighth of 27 teams on the women's side and 11th in the men's division. Two McGill athletes posted a pair of podium finishes, with Alana Battiston, a fifth-year dietetics senior from Toronto, registering 3,492 points to win gold and break her own school record (3,365) in the women's pentathlon.
The other medal came in the men's 4x400 relay, which set a McGill record and crossed the finish line in 3:19.11, eclipsing the mark of 3:21.03, which was set 13 years ago. The foursome included Montrealer Alexander Steinbrenner in the leadoff leg, followed by Benjamin Wyman of Hamilton, Ont., Javier Montalvo of Closter, N.J., and Steven Murray of Burlington, Ont.
“It was a stellar 4x400 and a good way to finish the meet with an exclamation mark and come through huge,” said Dennis Barrett, in his 26th season as head coach at McGill. “They were going after the record, knew they had a good chance to get it and came up huge. They finished second to Ottawa, which won gold at Nationals last year. It was a great performance considering that all the top teams from Quebec and Ontario were in town.
“We didn't finish as high as I would have liked but we have a lot of small, lingering injuries. Nevertheless, the meet produced a lot of excellent performances and was well-received by the other competing schools,” said Barrett, whose troops will host the RSEQ conference championship meet, Feb. 23-24. “I received a lot of positive feedback from the other coaches and athletes as well.
The Redmen and Martlets will now focus on preparations for the New York Collegiate Invitational, a huge meet involving many of the top NCAA teams, which will be held at The Armory in New York City, Feb. 1-2.
The final team standings are posted online at the link below, along with all medal winners and complete results for each event.